A Brief History of Camp Kinderland

1922: Leaders of the New York Arbeter Ring Jewish Children’s Shules think of
      starting a children’s camp. Jacob Levine, Michel Grossman and Yankl Doroshkin
      are chosen as the camp committee to find a location. The committee learns that
      a camp on Sylvan Lake, in Hopewell Junction, NY had gone bankrupt and is
      available to purchase. Workman’s Circle leadership refuses to supply
      the funds required to purchase the site. The search committee decides to
      buy the camp property independently. They arrange for a rental for
      the first year with an option to buy for $35,000.

1923: Camp Kinderland opens for its first season. After a successful
      summer the site is purchased. Yankle Doroshkin mortgages his house to obtain
      the down payment and a fundraising campaign is started to buy and run the camp.

1926: Some “left leaning” Jewish activists left (or are expelled from) the
      Workmen's Circle and form the "Umparteyishe Yiddisheh Kinder Shuln" (Nonpaartisan
      Jewish Children's Schools) with their own Yiddish after school program.
      These schools are the nucleus of Camp Kinderland's staff and campers.

1927: The Workmen's Circle saw the success of Kinderland and decide to open
      their own camp. They were able to obtain property on the opposite side of
      Sylvan Lake and they open Camp Kinder Ring.

1929: Approximately 9000 members split (or are expelled from) from the Workmen's Circle.

1930: The International Workers Order (I.W.O.) is organized and the Umparteyisheh
      Shuln and Camp Kinderland became associated with the Jewish-American section;
      this section later becomes the Jewish People’s Fraternal Order (JPFO).

1938: There is a visiting day every weekend.

1939: Tents are still used for at least some of the campers.
      Camp Lakeland is established for adults on the same property.

1940: Camp's dining room/theater/Casino, a wooden building near
      the sports field, burns down between the 1939 and 1940 season.
1941: The Casino is built.

1942-1945 Our parents dropped us off at a building on West 42nd street.
          From there we marched to the river, boarded the Hudson River Day Line steamboat
          and sailed to Poughkeepsie. A bus then picked us up and took us to camp.
          We came home the same way. This was done to save gasoline.

1943: Yackagdayou Brateslayou(The Yackles) and the 7-11s are formed.

1944: Deluxe Bunks A and B are built.
      The bunks came "equipped" with a goat and a sheep -- live, not stuffed --
      that were supposed to bring the kids closer to nature, or vice versa.
      The animals frequently broke their tethers to great consternation and
      amusement. The goat munched on poison ivy and gladly spread the rash
      to anyone who petted it.

1945: The U shaped cinderblock dining room is built. The older wooden building which
      stood on the same site had burned down.

1947: Delux Bunks 16, 17 and 18 are built.
1947: World Youth Festival in Prague celebrated at Camp; greetings sent from Prague
      by ex-camper, staffer (and Yakl) Marx Wartofsky, representing the Jewish Young
      Fraternalists (youth section of JPFO).
1947: Five-day Yiddish shule teacher training session for interested Camp counselors
      held in the casino after children leave, sponsored by School for Teachers and
      Higher Jewish Education, university-level school of JPFO.

1949: Up until now the campers are divided into 5 groups, fifth group up to first group.
      This year a Work Group is added, they paid less and they worked for camp, what a deal.
1949: August 14, Paul Robeson visits camp.

1950: The Howard Fast Work Group builds the Open Platform.

1951: The Work Group builds the steps to the Open Platform.
1951: The First Group builds the steps at the waterfront.
1951: The last year that Yiddish lessons are a required activity.

1952: The name of the Work Group is changed to the Youth Group.
      They still paid and worked; they build the benches at the Open Platform.
1952: The Social Hall, which stood between the road to the hill bunks and
      the top of the hill, down the road from the infirmary, had a fire sometime
      before the season started. All that remained after the fire was the
      fieldstone foundation. By 19xx, only the chimney remained.
1952: The last year that visiting days are held every Sunday.
1952: The last year for White Salutes.

1953: No visiting day - polio epidemic, we waved to our parents from a distance.

1954: During the red baiting witch hunts of the early 1950's New York State investigated
      the I.W.O. and succeeded in their goal of liquidating the Order. A legal determination
      was made declaring that Camp Kinderland was not part of the I.W.O. It has remained to
      this day an independent entity run as a not for profit organization.
1954: The Waterfront is completed.

1955: The Youth Group builds more benches at the Open Platform.
1955: Pete Seeger chops a log in the Casino. He sings "Take this Hammer."
      Take this hammer (huh!) carry it to the captain (huh!)

1956: The oldest group is now called the CITs (Counselors In Training).
1956: The Workgroup (One year younger than the CITs) builds a fence
      along the road down to the casino.
1956: The first UN peace Olympics.
      The teams are: US, USSR, England, France, Israel and India.

1964: CIT program expands to 2 years.

1971: Lyber Katz, Sam Shapiro, Lester Simon, Monnie Itzkowitz and ELsie Suller
      look for another site for Camp.

      The camp site on Sylvan Lake is closed and sold because:
      1) Taxes were getting higher and the property was only used for 2 months a year.
      2) Some people who had loaned money to purchase the camp wanted their money returned.
      3) The Sylvan Lake area had become a bedroom community for NYC and
         builders were offering a high price for the property.
      4) There was not enough money to maintain the premises.

1972: Camp Kinderland opens in Fitchville, CT.
      One of the reasons we only stayed in Fitchville for one year is that the camp was in
      an anti-semitic community. There was a bridge over the river the campers swam in and
      hoodlums from the community would come onto the bridge and throw rocks at the kids
      while they swam. We established a night watch to guard the camp.

1973-1975: Camp Kinderland opens in Honesdale, PA.

1973 or 1974: Edith Segal's last year.

1976: Camp Kinderland opens in Tolland, Mass.

1979: 56th anniversary, Felt Forum, Madison Square Garden, 1st yearbook.
1998: May 15, 75th anniversary reunion, Lehman College, 2nd yearbook.

2005: West coast reunion at Asilomar.

Is anything important missing?? 

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